Multi-Award winning Nigerian born Jazz guitarist, Kunle Ayo has been compared with giants of the contemporary school like George Benson, Earl Klugh and locally based Jimmy Dludlu. With 6 studio albums and numweous accolades to his name, Kunle is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most celebrated guitarists.
Born of Yoruba parents in Lagos Nigeria, Kunle always had an affinity to play, starting with drums and thumb piano and later graduating to guitar at the tender age of 20. He turned professional at the age of 28 when he started recording and playing alongside Nigeria’s internationally respected artists such as Chief Ebenezer Obey, Kayode Olajide and the enigmatic Lagbaja (The Masked One), with whom he toured Europe, North Africa and South America.
Since his arrival to South Africa in 2002, Kunle Ayo has performed and recorded with some of the country’s top artists – notably the late Jabu Khanyile and international artists such as Kirk Whalum, Al Jarreau and Jonathan Butler. He has also produced music for talented musicians like MXO, KB and Simphiwe Dana to name a few.
His new and 6th studio album titled “Atunse the Revolution” features internationally acclaimed musicians like Bra Hugh Masekela, America’s great Saxophonist Kirk Whalum and Zimbabwean guitar giant, Oliver Mtukudzi. The album was released in 2016 and comprises of smooth African contemporary jazz which is ethnically influenced. Due to the demand for diverse styles of Music, Kunle Ayo stands out as one of the artists who has retained his roots as a Nigerian Jazz Guitarist.
In 2015, Kunle was honoured as an Ambassador for One Organisation alongside 18 other musicians including D’Banj, Femi Kuti, Omawunmi Magbele, Liz Ogunbo, Vikcy Kimani, Buffalo Soldier, Diamond amongst others for their Do Agric Project which featured the incredible Pan – African “Cocoa na Chocolate song”, recorded and released last year.
In 2014, Kunle got London to a standstill during his Kunle Ayo Live in London Concert and DVD recording. Attended by the who’s who in the UK entertainment industry, the concert took place at the Swanky Under the Bridge venue underneath the Chelsea Football stadium in Stamford bridge, London. The long awaited Live DVD recording titled “Kunle Ayo Live in London” was released on the 30th of April 2016, and features Mobo Award nominated artist Femi Temowo, multi-award winning alto saxophonist Soweto Kinch, and a host of others.